Real Woodworking – mortising oak legs

Mortise in oak in 4 minutes

OK, I hope you will take my word for it, but a 3/8″ (12mm) by 1 1/4″ deep by 2 1/4″ long mortise hole generally takes me about 4 minutes to chop in solid oak using my system and skill, a Marples blue chip bevel-edged chisel (not an Irwin made in China) and a panel beating chisel hammer.

 

 

 

 

 

The mortise will be perfectly parallel to the outside face of the leg and perfectly aligned within the mortise so the tenon will align perfectly. A critical aspect to prevent building twist into any aspect of any work. I use a mortise machines frequently enough and have no problem with anyone that uses them, but I actually prefer to cut mortises by hand whenever I can and if its practicable. I call this real woodworking, so a chest like this one that will have 18 mortise holes of varying sizes will take me roughly an hour and fifteen minutes if I take no breaks. Not too long in the overall scheme of things.

Yesterday I stacked up my planed foursquare legs ready for laying out. I gang them up and clamp them so that all rails correspond perfectly and layout for mortises are exactly aligned with no discrepancy. It takes only a few minutes or so.

 

These legs follow the pattern I will use on the hope chest project.

3 Comments

  1. adam of oakland on 3 November 2011 at 1:07 am

    Hi Mr. Sellers – Wow, 4 minutes to bang out that clean mortise? nice. i’ll peruse your site for any details on how you do this, but would like to hear more about your process.

    I’ve been enjoying this hopechest in oak build, keep it up!



  2. adam of oakland on 3 November 2011 at 1:07 am

    Hi Mr. Sellers – Wow, 4 minutes to bang out that clean mortise? nice. i’ll peruse your site for any details on how you do this, but would like to hear more about your process.

    I’ve been enjoying this hopechest in oak build, keep it up!



    • Paul Sellers on 3 November 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Adam,
      Timed one today and worked steady but not racing – 3 minutes 40 seconds.

      I planned on posting but the content is part of my new book out in April 2012. Can’t jeopardize that work but the process is in my book Working Wood the Artisan Course with Paul Sellers.

      Best regards,

      Paul